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ATKINS DIET 'DANGER' TO YOUR HEALTH; Experts warn food fad can cause cancer.

Byline: JENNY MCQUAILE

THE Atkins Diet can cause cancer, heart disease and strokes, experts claimed yesterday.

Nutrition groups warned the fat-fighting regime can lead to serious health problems.

The Irish Heart Foundation said the low-carb diet is "nutritionally unbalanced" and "completely at odds with the Department of Health guidelines".

And the Irish Cancer Society stressed the need to keep a healthy diet by "increasing the intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, eating low-fat foods and keeping weight down by being more active and eating fewer fatty foods".

The controversial book, Dr Atkins' New Diet Revolution, has been a bestseller across the globe since its release. But in the US the Partnership for Essential Nutrition has been launched to promote the benefits of carbohydrates like fruit and vegetables, beans and whole grains.

Jeffrey Prince of the American Institute for Cancer Research said: "When unproven science becomes a sales pitch some people get rich and the rest get ripped off.

"Eating vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans is linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

"But extreme low-carb diets can lead to kidney stress, liver disorders and gout."

The Atkins Diet works by throwing the body into a condition called ketosis, which makes us shed water as our systems try to get rid of excess protein and fat-breakdown products.

Dr Stuart Trager, medical director for Atkins Nutritionals insisted the diet is healthy.

He said: "Atkins includes spinach, eggplant, brocolli, asparagus and leafy greens, as well as other high-fibre vegetables and fruits.

"Even during induction Atkins requires five servings of vegetables and/or fruits a day."

But Margot Brennan of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute said the diet is a " dangerous fad" and only leads to temporary weight loss.

She added: "This diet can be particularly dangerous in many ways.

"If you lose weight so fast it never stays off.

"One study even proved it causes a rise in kidney stones, which are very rare in women."

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AUTHOR: Dr Atkins
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 25, 2004
Words:335
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